The Usual Suspects #51

 

Welcome back for another edition of The Usual Suspects. This week we get back to business as usual. I read an MCU casting rumor while I was working on my 50 gimmick cover article that I found intriguing, so I thought why not look at some Moon Knight books this week.

 

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So the casting rumor I heard was someone mentioning Keanu Reeves for a potential Moon Knight film. He apparently did meet with Marvel about something. While I think the chances of a Moon Knight film are pretty slim, this was a fun idea to kick around.

I mean he would be a perfect Moon Knight to me. He may be getting older, but he can still sell the physicality need to be a caped crusader. And he possesses the acting chops required to really convey the fractured psyche of this character. I mean John Wick basically playing a batman type character would be so cool.

 

 

Personally, I feel the character lends itself more to a series on a streaming service in the vein of what Netflix had done with Daredevil, Jessica Jones, etc. More street level, a bit darker and grittier, and stretched out over a several hours to allow the characterization to really be allowed to breathe. I mean we all know that this isn’t an easy character to pin down.

Jake Gyllenhaal would be a good fit here, but he’s already Mysterio in the MCU so that’s out. Tom Hardy would also be good here, but who knows how Sony/Marvel move forward together. Christian Bale would’ve been another good choice, but he was already Batman so Moon Knight may be too close to a retread.

  

So I would lean more outside the box to look at someone we haven’t seen in a costume, like James Franco. He’s an odd dude to begin with, in a good way. So playing a potentially off center damaged individual may be in his wheelhouse. I’d like them to find a way to work all of the iterations of the character and costumes in some way as I think there’s room for the classic cape and the Warren Ellis white suit look. That’s one of the perks of a series over a feature film.

 

 

Anyway, who is Moon Knight? Truthfully I have only read this title sparingly over the years. I did enjoy the most recent run from the number restart at 188 through 200, but then it just ended. So I had to do a bit of research.

Moon Knight was created by writer Doug Moench and artist Don Perlin. Originally he appeared as the enemy of the titular character in a two issue story arc in Werewolf by Night issues 32 & 33 in 1975. Moon Knight earned an immediate following and due to reader demand, he returned to guest star in Marvel Spotlight and a few other Marvel tiles in the late 70’s.

 

 

It was during these guest appearances that his origins and characterization was expanded upon as he was initially just supposed to be a one off villain. So it was during these appearances that he gained a supporting cast of Frenchie and his love interest Marlene. It was also during these appearances that he had two separate aliases; Jake Lockley the streetwise cab driver and Steven Grant the millionaire playboy. More on that in a minute.

 

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It wasn’t until 1980 that he earned his own solo series. It was during this run that he received his origin that included his death and resurrection by Khonshu. It was also this series that introduced the possibility of Marc's mental instability. The idea being that his resurrection was nothing more than fabrication of a broken mind brought about by a near death experience. This series ran for 54 issues before its cancellation in 1984.

 

 

His next series Moon Knight Fist of Konshu, ran with the Egyptian motif and fully embraced the resurrection idea stepping away from the mental instability aspect. This series only ran 6 issues in 1985 before disappearing from shelves for a while.

It wasn’t until 1989 that he earned his longest running series Marc Spector: Moon Knight in his 3rd attempt at an ongoing. It was during this run that a lot of the confusion over just what Moon Knight was, began. So many different writers and artists guest appearances and major crossovers, his characterization was all over the place. The legendary Stephen Platt came on at the tail end of this run for a 6 issues stint that culminated in the 60th and final issue of his longest running ongoing to date.

 

 

From here we got a few more reboots and new ongoing attempts, most of which barely lasted a dozen issues. The biggest exception was a 30 issues run started by Charlie Huston and David Finch back in 2006. Following Finch’s tenure on the title, we go a decent cover run by Arthur Suydam.

That series ended in 2009, and then we got a 10 issue run of Vengeance of Moon Knight that had quite a few decent covers and variants from Lenil Yu, Alex Ross, Francesco Mattina, Adi Granov, and J Scott Campbell. Let’s not forget that Jerome Opena contributed to the interiors on the first 6 issues.

The next few attempts at a series came from Brian Michael Bendis and Alex Maleev, and then Warren Ellis and Declan Shalvey, followed by Brian Wood and Greg Smallwood.

 

 

Come 2016, another reboot was attempted by Jeff Lemire who brought back Greg Smallwood on pencils. But that run only last 14 issues before wrapping up the 8th volume of this series.

Then Marvel, in their infinite wisdom, decided to do their let’s pile them up and count everything and renumber and restart Moon Knight one more time beginning with issue #188. I enjoyed what Max Bemis and Jacen Burrows gave us, but it was again just another dozen issues before it wrapped at #200.

 

 

But in that pile of false starts, reboots, revamps, and re-imaginings, we got a decent amount of key books to hunt for fans of Moon Knight. So with that said…let’s get into it.

 

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Werewolf By Night #32

(Aug 1975)

1st appearance of Moon Knight

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This is the big one. By now most of us are aware of this 1st appearance. Prices have gotten nutty on this one of late. But more on that later.

As I noted, this was only supposed to be a one off throw away villain appearance for Werewolf By Night. Two issues and he’s out.  Kinda like Big Wheel in ASM 182 and 183 (I realize Big Wheel kinda popped back up again over the years, but that’s beside the point). But popularity brought MK back and eventually his own series.

I’ve never owned this book. Just haven’t found one in my price range. Except this one time, out at the flea market. I saw a buyer with the book in his hand haggling with a junk dealer. This dealer didn’t know comics, really. He looked to do house clean outs or storage locker buy outs as he had a hodge-podge of junk and just a couple boxes of comics. But he wasn’t totally unaware as he did have an asking price and a separate short box of over a dollar stuff.

So anyway, I see this buyer with a stack of 30 dollar books and the WWBN #32 in his hand negotiating with the dealer. Now this wasn’t a NM by any stretch. This was a solid VG copy, maybe a Fine at best. But I didn’t get a great look, so I can’t say for certain what a press could’ve done. Anyway, the seller was asking $35 for it.

Yup $35 and the buyer was balking. This was maybe 2 summers ago. Now I couldn’t be positive if the hemming and hawing was a ploy to get the price down or if the guy was really debating whether he wanted the book. So I lingered. Hoping he’d put it down, buy his 30 dollar bin books, and be on his way. Dealer wasn’t budging and buyer was really convincing that he wasn’t happy with the condition and was gonna pass. I thought I was in.

But then out of nowhere as they were about to settle up on the dollar books, the dealer offer $60 for everything. The buyer deliberated for what seemed an eternity.

 

 

Now, I thought about chiming in and saying I’ll give you $35, but I felt that would be out of line. I realize there are no real rules in this game of ours, but all I know is that I wouldn’t have felt good about myself by stepping in on this buyers hustle. For all I know this all just a show to save a few bucks and he would’ve paid up anyway. Then I’d look like the jerk butting in on a negotiation I had no part of. I know I would be upset if someone did that to me. Like mind your own business buddy.

 

 

So I just held my tongue and waited. Buyer tried one more haggle to get the lot for $50. I figured he was serious about walking away, so I inched closer to scoop it up after the deal fell through…

Buyer eventually agreed, and walked off with a WWBN for $30. I was maybe 5 mins too late to that table. But that’s how it goes sometimes. I did end up buying some dollar books and I chatted with the seller and told him I would’ve paid the $35. He said why did you say something? I said I didn’t want to butt in.

I feel good with how I handled it. I took a chance being silent hoping to swoop in and I missed. Had I chimed in, it could’ve been a different story. Maybe the other buyer wouldn’t have cared and I would’ve had a WWBN 32 for $35. Or maybe it would’ve incensed him and it would have caused a scene that could’ve come to blows at the flea market.

I have no regrets. I will find a copy, one of these days.

 

 

Market Analysis:  I will find a copy, but not at these prices. $50k for a CGC 9.8 is nuts. I realize there are less than 20 9.8’s but that’s more than a 9.8 of FF48 ($31k), Hulk 181 ($37k), or ASM 129 ($15k). Prices are crazy right now. Most grades are on the uptick. The last 9.8 sale of this book before the insane $50k buy, was for $17.5k back in Aug 2018.

Top listing on eBay right now is a CGC 9.4 with a starting bid of $4k. Anything 7.0 and above is over a grand. A raw VF is listed at $869.99. Cheapest BIN right now is a VG copy that has some chipping and could use a press for $525. Otherwise you are gambling on an auction.

 

 

 

Marvel Spotlight #28

(Jun 1976)

First solo Moon Knight story

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So this book comes with its own short anecdote. Maybe a year or so back, I was going through back issues at an LCS and I came across this issue and #29, both in Pence variants. Yeah, how often do you see those in the wild? Prices were decent, but I already had a stack of books I was picking up, so I balked.

Now this shop doesn’t get a lot of traffic for their back issues or dollar books. I know because I hunt there often. They seem to focus more on their Magic the Gathering Tournaments and other card releases, etc. They do have a lot of books as the owner has been around for decades now.

On that note, I’m pretty sure they price using Overstreet. I’ve picked up plenty of gems at this shop for well under market, and that’s my best guess on the pricing. Especially on the older stuff.

 

 

Anyway, I was only looking to spend about $50 that day and I already had a few books I knew I wanted. So, of course they weren’t there the next week so someone came in and scooped them up. Oh well, this one was on me. I didn’t act, so it was my own fault. No big deal.

While this is a minor key, being Moon Knight’s first solo story, I’m not too upset missing out. Sure I’d like one in my PC for a decent price, and a pence variant would’ve been cool; but that isn’t my deal. I’m not a big price variant guy, nor am I a huge Moon Knight fan that needs this book.

 

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It’s got a cool bright cover, and I am sure I will come across another one in my travels. And if the price is right, then maybe I will pick it up, but it’s no WWBN #32.

Market Analysis:  Now today, if I wanted a Pence #28 & #29, it would be about $90 shipped from the UK. Like I said, I had a shot at both but dragged my feet. Anyway, prices are up and down on this one depending on grade.

Highest priced on the market right now is a CGC 9.36 looking for $1600, but that is for a 30 cent price variant. You know how those price variants draw a premium. A regular 9.6 is only about $380-$465. Or you can go for an $1150 CGC 9.8 if you were so inclined.

Top raw listing is a 7.5 Mark Jewelers for $340 from MCS. But most copies can be had between 450 and $125 raw. Cheapest BIN is for just over $30 form Canada.

 

 

 

Moon Knight #1

(Nov 1980)

First self-titled & on-going series.  First appearance of Bushman; First appearance of Konshu

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Awesome purple cover. Sure there are a lot of copies of this one out there and the price isn’t too bad considering it’s a #1. If they make a MK movie, this book would also probably see some heat as it features the 1st Bushman, a likely villain as well as the first Konshu in case they decide to touch on that aspect of the character.

 

 

A potential series could tie Raoul Bushman to Moon Knight’s origins as they have in the comics. Set him up as a foil at least for the 1st season of a series. Bushman was a former mercenary working in the Sudan along with Marc Spector. You can tie in the history with Marlene and her father as the breaking point in the relationship between Marc and Bushman, pitting them at odds with one another.

Work in the “death” or near death experience and the introduction of Konshu and we have a series focusing on revenge, retribution, fractured personalities, Egyptian deities, and superheroes. I’m in on that show.

 

 

I’m liking Edi Gathegi in the Raoul Bushman role. He played Darwin in X-Men 1st Class. I can see him as a solid antagonist with the skull face and razor teeth. Then again there is always Adebisi. You know the guy would played Killer Croc, Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje. Mr Eko on Lost, but he’s getting older now.

 

 

Market Analysis:  This is not a hard book to find with plenty of copies on the market. A CGC 9.8 will run you anywhere from $190- $345. And for you niche collectors, there’s even a CGC 9.6 Blue label Double cover out there for $350. Can’t imagine you’ll find many of those out there.

Again 300+ listings, if you want a copy, you can probably find one in your price range. Highest listed raws are up around $100, but you should have no trouble finding a decent copy in the $40 range. Not too picky? Then you can grab a Fine copy for $11 if you want.

 

 

 

Moon Knight #1

(May 2014)

1:75 Incentive cover

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This is probably the most well known Moon Knight variant and one of the hardest to find. Granted it’s not as tough as that Marvel Retailer Resource Center (MRRC) Virgin variant, but it’s still a ghost.

 

 

Look at how few come to market, and when they do, they get scooped up quick. Such a high ratio at 1:75, there couldn’t have been many stores that even qualified for this book. But it does have an awesome Bill Sienkiewicz cover. So detailed, and it’s just a cool image with MK lounging on his own Iron Throne.

It is so choice.

 

 

And this was the reboot featuring Warren Ellis’ take on the character. This could be another arc in a steaming series featuring Mr. Knight. This could be where the series takes a turn and delves into the multiple personalities of Marc Spector.

 

 

Market Analysis:  Not a cheap book and not easy to find. There aren’t even any on the market when I checked. And you can see these prices near $2k for a CGC 9.8 and raws and other graded copies around $500. So if you see one hit the market, act quickly if you want it as they don’t last long at any price.

 

 

 

Marc Spector: Moon Knight #55

(Oct 1993)

First Stephen Platt Moon Knight artwork; First published Marvel artwork by Stephen Platt

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To my generation, this book is iconic. His run may have been short but ask anyone from my age (41) who the quintessential MK artist is, and they will tell you Stephen Platt. I know a strong case can be made for Bill S, but there was just something about what Splatt did with this character in six issues.

 

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His art style reminds me of if Todd McFarlane decided to use Ed McGuiness’ proportions with Darick Robertson’s level of fine detail and grit.

 

 

Just gorgeous stuff. But I can also point out the flaws too. I mean if you look at issue #58, that guy in the red trench is just off. Proportions are all screwy, his face is all squished. And what happened to his neck? Did he learn that from Liefeld? And why does he look like Chris Kattan’s SNL character, Mr. Peepers?

 

 

Market Analysis:  Prices seem to be down at the moment so if you are looking to buy, now could be the time. That said $200 looks like it can get you either a CGC 9.8 of #55 or the entire Splatt run raw at the moment. Granted you can also find that full run for cheaper raw if you shop around.

That said, high grade raw copies are looking for close to $100, but you can grab a decent copy for $50-$65. But you won’t do much better on price as the cheapest copy of #55 is $44 right now.

 

 

 

Ok that’s it for this week. I I hope you enjoyed this dip into Moon Knight. Coming next Friday, a new Wizard Rewind where we take a trip back to July 2006. It's amazing how many books covered in 2006 are still relevant today. Goes to show the cyclical nature of this hobby.

But even before we get to that, let’s look at some other Moon Knight books worth looking at.

 

 

 

 

 

Werewolf By Night #33

(Sep 1975)

2nd Moon Knight is another book that should be on the radar. Sure everyone wants to 1st, but that could be out of a lot of our price range. So 2nd appearance might have to do. I’m looking at you ASM 135.

Typical Sales Data:

CGC Census 9.8 – 6
CGC 9.8 – $2,665.00 on 3/8/18
Raw – $37.99 on 7/4/19

All-Points Bulletin

 

 

 

Marvel Preview #21

(Spring 1980)

I had a copy of this magazine sized book that I flipped for cheap. In retrospect I prob should have held onto it as this isn’t an easy book to find.

Typical Sales Data:

CGC Census 9.8 – 8
CGC 9.8 – $500.00 on 4/3/18
Raw – $13.50 on 7/12/19

All-Points Bulletin

 

 

 

Moon Knight #25

(Nov 1982)

Iconic Bill S. cover and that deep black makes high grade nearly impossible. If you can’t find it, you could always settle for that lenticular homage rehash on #188. Those lenticulars were so bad.

But this cover is awesome, so pick it up if you see it in the wild.

Typical Sales Data:

CGC Census 9.8 – 49
CGC 9.8 – $526.76 on 6/28/19
Raw – $34.99 on 7/13/19

All-Points Bulletin

 

 

 

Moon Knight #29

(Mar 1983)

Another awesome black cover by Bill S. This issue along with #30 feature a pretty sweet Werewolf By Night crossover.

Also impossible high grade book that is just a great add to the PC.

Typical Sales Data:

CGC Census 9.8 – 20
CGC 9.8 – $399.95 on 6/18/19
Raw – $31.51 on 7/13/19

All-Points Bulletin

 

 

 

Marc Spector: Moon Knight #57

(Dec 1993)

The other gem of the Splatt Moon Knight Run, this features an awesome Spidey crossover. Here you can see where he McFarlane comparisons come from as this is Stephen Platt’s version of ASM 301.

Typical Sales Data:

CGC Census 9.8 – 222
CGC 9.8 – $109.95 on 6/5/19
Raw – $60.00 on 7/14/19

All-Points Bulletin

 

 

 

Marc Spector: Moon Knight #60

(Dec 1993)

The final issue of Splatt’s run and this volume of Moon Knight as well. Just a striking B&W cover that is undervalued a bit in my opinion. 

I mean for under 10 bucks, everyone should have one.

Typical Sales Data:

CGC Census 9.8 – 134
CGC 9.8 – $79.99 on 7/3/19
Raw – $5.25 on 7/10/19

All-Points Bulletin

 

 

 

Vengeance of Moon Knight #1 Virgin MRRC

Dec 2009

Ben C wasn’t kidding in his Hot 100 Variants honorable mentions list that this is a ghosty ghost. Only one copy up on the market and they are looking for $3500. I will not be surprised if they get it too. 

Typical Sales Data:

CGC Census 9.8 – 2
CGC 9.8 – $2,100.00 on 4/7/18
Raw – none sold raw recently on eBay

All-Points Bulletin

 

 

 

Vengeance of Moon Knight #7 1:15

(Jun 2010)

This Granov Iron Man variant is also a tough book to lock down. If they were easier to find, you would see more in the census to be sure. So scoop it up if you find one.

Typical Sales Data:

CGC Census 9.8 – 37
CGC 9.8 – $210.00 on 9/18/18
Raw – $130.00 on 12/31/18

All-Points Bulletin

 

 

 

Vengeance of Moon Knight #9

(Aug 2010)

JSC cover with Deadpool appearance. Wouldn’t surprise me if this was double what it’s selling for now.

Typical Sales Data:

CGC Census 9.8 – 1
CGC 9.8 – None sold
Raw – $20.70 on 6/11/19

All-Points Bulletin

 

 

 

Moon Knight #1 2nd Print

(Aug 2011)

This is a pretty sweet 2nd print cover. New art on a 2nd print is always a plus, especially when it’s something as nice as what Alex Maleev gave us here.  

You can see why this is more than his regular cover.

Typical Sales Data:

CGC Census 9.8 – 6
CGC 9.8 – $250.00 on 2/15/19
Raw – $22.88 on 6/3/19

All-Points Bulletin

 

 

 

Moon Knight #7 1:50 variant

(Dec 2011)

I’m a big fan of this homage to Daredevil #1. Great cover and a 1:50 incentive to boot so it’s not that easy to come by. 

I’m really surprised this isn’t a pricier book.

Typical Sales Data:

CGC Census 9.8 – 7
CGC 9.8 – $99.00 on 2/2/18
Raw – $34.00 on 6/25/19

All-Points Bulletin

 

 

 

Marvel Comics Presents #4 1:50

(Jun 2019)

This is not an easy book to find and was hot out of the gate and for good reason. Another great Bill S. MK cover and a high ratio on a low pint book.

Comichron had this book at just under 14k print run which would mean there are potential less than 280 copies of this book out there.  So not surprised by these market prices.

Typical Sales Data:

CGC Census 9.8 – 10
CGC 9.8 – $1,000.00 on 6/1/19
Raw – $177.11 on 7/1/19

All-Points Bulletin

 

 

…With that being said….

(Shout out to Brian at Simpleman’s Comics for his catchphrase)

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2 comments

  • accustomfigures
    Avatar

    One of my favorites! Great article. Warren Ellis’s run is flawless for me, and don’t forget that Ellis also used MK in his Secret Avengers run which was also stellar. Vengeance of the Moon Knight with Opena is pretty amazing and nonstop action. The opening scene in issue one is dope.

    People always miss Down South by Mike Benson and Hefte Palo. Great read and it has Punisher in it with those amazing Dellotto covers.

  • Avatar

    A good character that fits the Marvel Netflix type shows. Sold my WWBN 32 to early but still have most of the other important Moon Knight books from the 70’s – 90’s.

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